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‘Gutted’ Julianna Pena breaks silence over UFC 289 withdrawal, targets winner of Nunes vs. Aldana

UFC 277: Pena v Nunes 2 Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

A broken back couldn’t keep Julianna Pena from fighting Amanda Nunes at UFC 289.

A busted rib, on the other hand, appeared to be too much for “The Venezuelan Vixen” to overcome. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion was recently pulled from her Amanda Nunes rubber match and replaced by fellow contender Irene Aldana for the pay-per-view (PPV) main event on June 10 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

LIVE! Watch UFC 289 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

OCTAGON RETURNS TO THE GREAT WHITE NORTH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Canada for the first time in almost four years when it hosts UFC 289 inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sat., June 10, 2023. In UFC 289’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, women’s Bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, will lock horns with No. 5-ranked 135-pound contender, Irene Aldana, while former Lightweight kingpin and current No. 1-seeded contender, Charles Oliveira, battles No. 4-ranked Beneil Dariush in the co-feature with 155-pound title implications on the line.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“Hi. Wanted to give it a few days before I addressed the situation. I am out of my fight in Vancouver for UFC 289. I am absolutely gutted,” Pena wrote on Instagram. “You guys only see us preform on one night but I wish you guys could see the other side of what fighters have to go through on a daily basis. A fighter’s life is not an easy road but it’s one that lights my soul on fire. It’s my passion and I do it everyday with my whole heart. I give my everything every time I step into that Octagon and I wanted nothing more then to make this fight possible.”

Pena (11-5) shocked the world with her second-round submission win over Nunes (22-5) in the UFC 269 main event back in late 2021, but then failed to retain her title when the promotion granted an immediate rematch in the UFC 277 headliner the following July.

Both fighters have remained inactive since their second go-round.

“Going into a fight, you’re never 100 percent but in this case, the doctors intervened and I was forced to withdraw,” Pena continued. “I train so hard and as you can see from my pictures I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into this camp to show you guys how obsessed I am at improving myself. Unfortunately it’s going to have to wait. I trust in Gods plan and have faith everything will work out for the best. I give my sincerest apologies to UFC and Amanda Nunes. Wishing both Irene Aldana and Amanda Nunes a great fight, looking forward to fighting the winner to regain my belt! Oss.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 289 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 289: “Nunes vs. Aldana” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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